The investigation in the land grab scam where bogus orders were passed under the Urban Land Ceiling and Regulation Act (ULCRA), 1976, may be transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
At present, the Crime Investigation Department (CID) is probing the cases where alleged fake and fabricated documents were used to grab land in Pune agglomeration.
A division bench of justice BH Marlapalle and justice US Salvi of the Bombay high court questioned additional solicitor general Darius Khambata about the strength (of officers) of the CBI in Pune. Khambata informed the court that they had only one deputy superintendent of police and would need logistical and infrastructural support to investigate the scam.
Advocate general Ravi Kadam argued that the CID was probing the cases and had already filed charge sheets in two of the 33 cases.
Madhav Karve, special inspector general holding charge of additional director general of police, CID, filed an affidavit stating that their officers had acquired sufficient expertise in the technicalities of the cases and had an upper hand as they were familiar with the local language, Marathi.
Claiming that investigation in 29 cases was at a crucial stage, Karve’s said transferring the probe to the CBI at this juncture would “give an opportunity to the accused to therein destroy/disappear evidence”.
Ganesh Sovani, advocate for the petitioner Madhav Bhandari, sought the transfer saying that the government had been trying to shield some ministers and bureaucrats. SPS Yadav, who was then heading the CID, stayed investigating officer, Avinash Mokashi, recommendation to arrest Yogesh Mhase, officer on special duty to home minister RR Patil. The court will decided on the matter on Tuesday.
Bhandari, the Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson, had initiated a public interest litigation alleging that between 1976 and 2005, 11,894 returns (statements of property extracts and details of persons having interest in the land) were filed under the ULCA in the Pune urban agglomeration. Bogus orders were passed under the ULCA to avoid surrendering excess land to the state.